Published July 20, 2011
LONDON – Angela Scoular, a former Bond girl, died after drinking drain cleaner and pouring it over her body, an inquest in London heard Wednesday.
The actress, who played Buttercup in the 1966 spoof "Casino Royale" and Ruby Bartlett in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" in 1969, suffered 40 percent burns to her body, throat and dietary tract from the chemical, which contained 91 percent sulfuric acid.
Scoular had not been drinking on the morning of her death and left no suicide note, Westminster Coroner's Court heard.
But in the months before she had been consuming half a bottle of brandy a day and was behaving erratically. She bought things she knew she could not afford, had several parking fines and was convicted of drunk driving. Her anxiety was heightened by the fear that her cancer, for which she had had chemotherapy and radiotherapy, would return.
On the morning of her death on April 11, her husband, the British comic actor Leslie Phillips, gave her a cup of tea and a banana in bed. Later she got up, fetched the cleaner bottle from under the sink and drank from it. She then ran outside their home and poured the rest of the bottle over her body.
Scoular then fell down some steps, fracturing her spine in several places, the inquest heard.
Phillips, 82, who starred in the popular "Carry On" films, heard a noise at the front door but ignored it until he heard a passer-by outside. As he looked out of the window, he saw his wife lying next to a white plastic bottle with blood on her face.
Scoular was pronounced dead in hospital just over two hours after she drank the cleaner.
Phillips was too unwell to attend the inquest but spoke in two witness statements of a 35-year marriage interrupted by his wife's bouts of alcoholism.
"She was a nervous type, not at all confident. But she was a kind, generous person who would help me with my work and I would help with hers," he said.
Dr. Fiona Wilcox, the coroner, said Scoular had died from the ingestion of a corrosive substance and multiple fractures. She recorded a verdict of "killing herself while the balance of her mind was disturbed."